Buying Reconditioned Square D FA Circuit Breakers is a Really Bad Idea, Dont Do It

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If The Idea of Reconditioned Square D Circuit Breakers Does Not Scare You, You Need to Read This Information.

First, lets see what should be done to Properly Recondition a Molded Case Circuit Breaker.

Many Molded Case Circuit Breakers are Tamper Proof Either by using Rivets to Seal the Breaker, Silicon or Epoxy over the Screws and Security labels that will be Damaged by Opening the Breaker. The Manufactures make sure that their products are safe and UL Certification verify they are manufactured to meet a very high level of Performance and Safety. Many Circuit Breakers have field install-able accessories or interchangeable trip units and these are made to be opened by the manufacture

External Inspection

The first thing to do is inspect the outside of the Circuit Breaker for Chips, Cracks, Burn Marks, Signs of Water Damage and Visual Quality. Also the Manufactures Labels and any Security labels should be checked to insure nobody has ever altered the Circuit Breaker. Many Circuit Breakers will look identical with different AIC Ratings and Voltages.

Internal Inspection

After opening up the Circuit Breaker you need to Visually check that all internal components are intact, Free of any residue from Moisture, Rust or Burning.   The Arc Shutes need to be removed to make sure the stationary and movable Contacts are not Marred or Pitted. Depending on what model type, the Center Mechanism, stationary Contacts, and Terminals. On Smaller 480 Volt Circuit Breakers, most parts cannot be removed and this makes it hard to remove all dirt, dust and debris. If all looks good you can reassemble the Circuit breaker, Install New Terminals and get ready to load test it. TEST EQUIPMENT CAN COST MORE THAN $30,000.00. Common Testing will be done using 6 Volts and adjusting the amperage to 300 percent for thermal testing of the circuit breakers rating. This must be done on each leg individually. Then the Magnetic range must be tested. This is for a short Circuit or Short to make sure it will trip instantly. Now don’t forget about Phase to Phase resistance. If all testing is within the Manufactures specifications, it is time to close and reseal the circuit Breaker.

Here is a partial List of Square D Circuit Breakers that are Sealed, Riveted Shut, Tamper Proof, Have no Interchangeable Trip Units and Never Never Ever should have anything done except replace the terminals. 

Residential
Type HOM and QO Current Series Plug-in Residential / Commercial
Commercial
Type QOB Current Series Bolt-on / Commercial
I-Line 480/277 Volt
Type FA Obsolete Plug-in I-Line
Type FH Obsolete Plug-in I-Line
Type FC Obsolete Plug-in I-Line
Type KA Obsolete Plug-in I-Line
Type KH Obsolete Plug-in I-Line
Type KC Obsolete Plug-in I-Line
Type LA Obsolete Plug-in I-Line
Type LH Obsolete Plug-in I-Line
Type MA Obsolete Plug-in I-Line
Type MH Obsolete Plug-in I-Line
Type BDA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type BGA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type BJA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type HDA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type HGA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type HJA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type HLA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type JDA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type JGA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type JJA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type JLA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type LC Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type LJA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type MGA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Type MJA Current Series Plug-in I-Line
Lug to Lug
Type FAL Obsolete Lug to Lug
Type FHL Obsolete Lug to Lug
Type FCL Obsolete Lug to Lug
Type KAL Obsolete Lug to Lug
Type KHL Obsolete Lug to Lug
Type KCL Obsolete Lug to Lug
Type LAL Obsolete Lug to Lug
Type LHL Obsolete Lug to Lug
Type MAL Obsolete Lug to Lug
Type MHL Obsolete Lug to Lug
Type BDL Current Series Lug to Lug
Type BGL Current Series Lug to Lug
Type BJL Current Series Lug to Lug
Type HDL Current Series Lug to Lug
Type HGL Current Series Lug to Lug
Type HJL Current Series Lug to Lug
Type JDL Current Series Lug to Lug
Type JGL Current Series Lug to Lug
Type JJL Current Series Lug to Lug
TYPE LDL Current Series Lug to Lug
TYPE LGL Current Series Lug to Lug
TYPE LJL Current Series Lug to Lug
TYPE MGL Current Series Lug to Lug
TYPE MJL Current Series Lug to Lug

 

 

What Circuit Breakers Do

Before we look at why used/reconditioned circuit breakers are a bad idea, it is important to understand what circuit breakers do. Our houses, commercial buildings and factories use a lot less electricity than the grid can provide (because the electric company created the grid to power everything at the same time), but the influx of electricity is limited in our homes. Sometimes, there are power surges and too much electricity is sent to our Businesses and  homes.

Without a circuit breaker, our Businesses and houses will be overloaded with electricity. This can cause the wiring to catch fire and the whole house can burn down. A circuit breaker breaks the circuit when it detects too much electricity. It basically breaks the connection between you and the power company to keep you safe.

Corrosion and water damage

A used/reconditioned circuit breaker may look perfect on the outside but be damaged on the inside. Water damage and corrosion happens with time and are common in used circuit breakers. The worst part is that you may test an old circuit breaker and it may seem fine, but it may still fail in real world conditions.

Professionally made

New circuit breakers are made by professionals and by precise machinery. No respectable electrician or technician will recondition a circuit breaker because they know how dangerous it can be. Thus there is no guarantee that the used/reconditioned circuit breaker you have was made by someone competent at electrical work and the construction may be poor. Good construction is necessary for a circuit breaker to perform when needed.

Unreliable sealants

When a new circuit breaker is used, sealant is used to keep the parts together. In order to remove non-functioning parts and reconditions the circuit breaker the sealant is removed and other types of sealant are used. A sealant being used by an amateur fixing old circuit breakers is nowhere near as good as a professionally applied sealant applied in the factory.

Don’t risk your life by using reconditioned/used circuit breakers

The reason it is so important to only buy new circuit breakers is that failure to do so puts your own and your family’s life at risk. A life threatening fire can be easily caused by a faulty circuit breaker. Only use circuit breakers that you can trust your life with because that is the whole point of circuit breakers.

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